Mr. Tarō Kōno, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr. Koji Haneda, Ambassador-designate of Japan to the Republic of the Philippines; Mr. Shigeki Takizaki, Director-General and Assistant Minister, Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs:
Firstly, we would like to welcome you and the rest of the Japanese Delegation to the Philippines, and the hometown of President Duterte. Joining me today are Undersecretary Mark Joven from the Department of Finance, my chief of Staff, Anita Linda Aquino and Assistant Secretary Maynardo Montealegre from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
I would like to begin by thanking Japan for their generous and continuous support to the Philippine Government especially in providing us positive impact to our major infrastructure projects and sectoral cooperation.
Over the years, Japan has remained to be the Philippines’ top official development assistance or ODA partner. We recognize the steadfast commitment of the Government of Japan in supporting our country’s development agenda especially in helping us jump-start the aggressive Build, Build, Build infrastructure modernization program so crucial to our nation’s sustained economic development.
Since the start of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration in June 2016, nine (9) loan agreements were signed between the government of the Philippines and the government of Japan.
Since 2017, six (6) High-Level Meetings were already convened by our two countries in view of strengthening the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement on Bilateral Cooperation. With frequent coordination meetings, our accomplishments in the last two (2) years have been unprecedented.
Following the “Fast and Sure” approach that this administration has adopted together with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, we have processed loan approvals for majority of the infrastructure projects we are undertaking with Japan in just an average of 3 to 4 months. This demonstrates our shared commitment to work closely to ensure that the Filipino people get to benefit from these projects at reasonable costs and at the soonest possible time.
We look forward to more productive discussions in the forthcoming 7th High Level meeting to be convened in Osaka, Japan later this month.
Let me again thank the people and the Government of Japan for the strong support they have extended in our infrastructure modernization program and for being a steady force in our economic and development journey.